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Commish calls disgruntled Colts fan

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If anyone thinks the NFL isn’t paying attention to everything that is being said about its handling of the work stoppage, think again.

After a Colts blogger who also is a long-time season-ticket holder expressed displeasure with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent conference call with Colts’ season-ticket holders (including a suggestion that the whole thing had been pre-recorded), Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com wrote an item about Nate Dunlevy’s displeasure.

“The vast majority of the questions had little to do with the lockout,” Dunlevy told Kuharsky.  “The ones that did, Goodell gave a potboiler answer to that we’ve heard a thousand times.  Many of us were on the line with real, hard questions and they didn’t field a single one I would classify as difficult.”

As a result, Dunlevy was able to ask his question (and a few others) directly to Goodell.  Because Goodell called him, directly.  Dunlevy has written about the conversation at 18to88.com.

Dunlevy initially focused on a topic about which we have spilled plenty of e-ink in recent weeks:  The “lockout insurance” case.  Specifically, he asked whether Goodell regrets that the situation created an environment of mistrust between the players and the league.

“Mr. Goodell responded by taking me back to the economic climate of 2008 and insisted that the contract was in the best interest of all the NFL’s business partners,” Dunlevy writes.  “I asked him if he felt the NFL had behaved ethically in regards to the TV contracts, and he reiterated that he did believe the NFL had behaved in an appropriate manner and for the good of all their business partners including the players.  He did not regret the contracts and felt they were conducted appropriately.”

Coincidentally, we discussed this specific issue earlier today on PFT Live with Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.  I’ve long believed that the players’ argument has a high degree of merit.  The requirement that the networks pay money (even if it is a loan) during a lockout constitutes a contractual term that the league could have swapped for greater rights fees during the normal course of football business.  Though it’s entirely possible that, as to some of the networks, no more money could have been obtained, the fact that DirecTV will pay the nonrefundable amount $400 million for a season of no football (including a lot more on top of that amount that would be repaid) means that DirecTV would have and could have shifted that money into the total payments made under the life of the deal.

The conversation eventually turned to the broader question of whether Goodell has any regrets regarding the league’s handling of the labor dispute.

“I asked Mr. Goodell if there was any aspect of the NFL’s conduct during the negotiations that he regretted, if there was anything he would have done differently, if there was any culpability to be shared by the league for the current state of affairs,” Dunlevy writes.  “He responded that no, while obviously he has given considerable thought as to what could be done to get a a deal accomplished, he felt the NFL had behaved appropriately.  He said that one always runs back over such negotiations searching for what could have been done differently, but that he did not believe there was anything that could have been changed.  He then expressed frustration at the fact that the discussions were taking place in a courtroom rather than in mediated settlement talks.”

We don’t expect Goodell to say anything differently, even though (in all candor) we don’t believe it.  We think the league regrets the manner in which the final days of mediation were handled prior to the decertification of the union, and we think the league would have provided the players with more face time in those days, along with more time to digest and respond to the offer that was finally made on the day that everything fell apart.

Hopefully, no one will ever have to ask Goodell if he regrets the fact that regular-season games were lost because of the lockout.

In the interim, let there be no doubt that the NFL is watching and listening.  And if you complain loudly enough, who knows?  You may get a call from the Commissioner, too.

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35 Responses to “Commish calls disgruntled Colts fan”
  1. narutofan10 says: May 9, 2011 2:52 PM

    f**k the commish there is that enough to get a call

  2. phinheads says: May 9, 2011 2:54 PM

    He should be calling Tom Brady instead. Then again, some Brazilian maid would probably answer the phone. Does Rog speak Portugese?

  3. randolph32 says: May 9, 2011 2:55 PM

    Wasn’t much of a call, as he didn’t earnestly answer the questions honestly, but in the ‘best interests of the game’.

  4. btowngetsdown says: May 9, 2011 2:58 PM

    Is “potboiler” a sanctioned expression? I’ve heard of “boilerplate,” but I think Denlevy is making up things at this point.

  5. FinFan68 says: May 9, 2011 3:05 PM

    we think the league would have provided the players with more face time in those days, along with more time to digest and respond to the offer that was finally made on the day that everything fell apart.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wow. Why should “face time” matter? It has nothing to do with the actual agreement or lack thereof. The players didn’t want more time to digest and respond to the offer. If they did, they could have gotten ANOTHER extension. They chose to decertify and litigate. Their minds were made up and their fearless leader even admitted that there was little effort made to even review the offer from the league. He also said that they balked on the “show me the books” offer by the league for PR reasons instead of any valid concerns.

    I think both sides have some regrets but if either side admits that, it would be used as “leverage”. There are things I can’t stand about Goodell but he has not acted unprofessionally. Whenever D. Smith or other player reps are provided the same kind of opportunity, they often respond with name-calling, disrespectful comments or outright misrepresentations of the truth. Neither side has acted completely appropriately as this mess has unfolded.

  6. snowpea84 says: May 9, 2011 3:08 PM

    I agree 100% with Goodell.

  7. nfl25 says: May 9, 2011 3:10 PM

    The players will ruin this game. The best sport in America and its gonna get ruined cuz the players know how hard they are to replace. And some fans are cheerleading for them. Truthfully I would watch replacement players but most would not, so the nfl needs the players. The players are just looking at the next 3-7 years, they want as much $$ as they can in those years.

    The owners want the game to stay the best game in America for a lifetime. How anyone can be on the players side just makes no sense to me. To me that means you care more about them getting more $$, than you do about the game

  8. thewhitestguyhere says: May 9, 2011 3:14 PM

    Any comments from DeMaurice Smith and Goodell should be placed in the Turd Watch section

  9. dequan81 says: May 9, 2011 3:14 PM

    So, has Brees, Brady and Peyton made any calls to fans yet?

  10. whathappenedtovox says: May 9, 2011 3:21 PM

    Did Goodell at any point stop to remember the victims of the tornadoes?

  11. PFTiswhatitis says: May 9, 2011 3:25 PM

    So Roger is throwing the fan (and us) a bone…but hey its more than the players are doing. Face it they wont even pretend that it is about anything more than themselves.

  12. santolonius says: May 9, 2011 3:29 PM

    if i could get goodell to answer any question it would be “what can you do to assure fans that you are actively trying to persuade the most hard line owners to lower their demands so there can be compromise?” there must be factions within owners that want more and want less. (though i haven’t seen any sports journalist try to penetrate the world of the owners and reveal which ones are driving this madness and which are frustrated. if such an expose exists please someone put in a link to the article.) my worry is that goodell doesn’t see himself as having a responsibility to show leadership among the owners, to get the most hard headed among them to be reasonable.

  13. zaggs says: May 9, 2011 3:30 PM

    “along with more time to digest and respond to the offer that was finally made on the day that everything fell apart.”

    And the players didn’t ask for more time why? Oh yeah, busy with that desertification. Besides I wasnt aware you make an offer before negotiating.

  14. qoojo says: May 9, 2011 3:34 PM

    Nfl25, to say that this is all the players fault is quite naive, and oversimplifying. We are at the current position due to greed on both sides, and that the NFL operates as a monopoly which is causing them all kinds of problems legally due to the NFLPA doing its fake disbanding.

    I am pessimistic. I think football is over as we knew it. I see it going more towards baseball like rules which will ruin it.

  15. tommyf15 says: May 9, 2011 3:51 PM

    “I asked Mr. Goodell if there was any aspect of the NFL’s conduct during the negotiations that he regretted, if there was anything he would have done differently, if there was any culpability to be shared by the league for the current state of affairs,” Dunlevy writes.

    What does this guy expect Goodell to say? Anything Goodell says could and likely would be used against him and the NFL in both the NLFPA and the Brady cases.

    Roger Goodell was kind enough to give this person a courtesy call- granted, it was also a PR stunt, but it’s still a courtesy- and the guy starts asking questions he knows Goodell can’t answer.

    Nice.

  16. vadog says: May 9, 2011 3:55 PM

    There’s something that smells very fishy with the leagues dealings with the networks. I know that the NFL is not publically traded and there is no requirement that produce “the books” for examination, but it certainly appears from the little information that IS available that the accounting is “creative” to say the least.

    When Goodell first took over the job, I really liked him. I thought his focus on the integrity of the game was just what was needed. I naively thought he would have some independance from the ownership in order to make decisions in the best interests of the game.

    I now think that he is very weak and the integrity of the game has suffered under his toothless administration.

    I also believe that DeMaurice Smith and the “Band of Lawyers” that the “Players Guild” has hired are about as ethical as a den of lions at a Vegan Convention!! Players are getting some very, very bad advice from their leadership.

    My fear is that, as trust is absent in either the negotiations or the legal process, that this “labor issue” will morph into a full blown accounting scandel ala’ Enron, Bernie Madoff, etc…and the NFL will go belly up before another down is played.

  17. tommyf15 says: May 9, 2011 4:01 PM

    zaggs says:
    And the players didn’t ask for more time why? Oh yeah, busy with that desertification.

    How do you know they didn’t ask for another extension?

    You don’t- you’re just making things up.

  18. phillyforlife says: May 9, 2011 4:03 PM

    Fire the players and start over just like Reagan did to the air traffic controllers. It will show all players present and future who owns the teams and the league. In my mind the player are a bunch of dumb greedy a-holes that can run a ball, there is a million idiots just like um out there.

  19. norfva says: May 9, 2011 4:07 PM

    I have a couple of questions to ask the commish if he wants to call me. Specifically why was it when the lockout was temporarly lifted didnt they follow by the rules laid down by the court and abide by them. That is what pisses me off the most they got a ruling they didnt like and they circumvented it. It seem like to me they arent going to follow any of the rules unless it is to their benefit. I believe the NFL owners are walking a very fine line with the fans and they might be suprised by the backlash that they get if they do not get their act together.

  20. Chris Fiorentino says: May 9, 2011 4:07 PM

    Here’s my question…maybe some pro-players people can answer it. Other than their insistence on 10 years of financial data from the owners, did the players ever make an offer to the owners that came down from the CBA that was opted out of? Because as far as I can remember, the owners made an offer, then the players de-certified. That’s the way I remember it. If I am wrong, then tell me the CBA agreement the players offered. I know the owners offered something…it was called “The worst deal in history”. I guess if you aren’t getting, as your own president said, the “best deal in history” then you must obviously be getting the “worst deal in history”. There’s no in between with De Smith.

  21. chatham10 says: May 9, 2011 4:10 PM

    I still do not understand why you guys are not jumping on Smith, they walked out and ended the union. I know the owners are at fault but no more then the players union and even though you lawyers stick by the players they both need to grow up and settle this or shut down the whole season, and yes it would hurt the players and owners but it would really hurt all the damn lawyes.

  22. swissard says: May 9, 2011 4:15 PM

    While I think both sides are only interested in their own pockets and NOT the good of the game, I have a little (very small) sympathy for the players because 1. their careers are not that long and 2. who is offering or agreeing to pay those crazy salaries (hint not the players.) Besides how many franchises have such financial problems that the owner is looking to sell – zero. Thanks to big buck TV deals, outrageous beverage, food, ticket and parking prices – does anyone think the owners are hurting? Both groups should look to make the “fan experience” better by lowering prices.

  23. nfl25 says: May 9, 2011 4:18 PM

    qoojo,

    I don’t think its all the players. But they have nothing to lose as far as rules and all that. They want to get paid. Lets say you worked in a company that you knew for 100% fact you wouldn’t be there for more than 8 years. Would you want whats best for the long term growth of the company? Or would you try to get as much as possible in those 8 years?

    I cant say i blame the players cuz alot of people would do the same. I am on the owners side, not cuz I care about the owners, but cuz I care about the game. Me and the owners have something in common as far as that goes

  24. FinFan68 says: May 9, 2011 4:27 PM

    tommyf15 says:
    May 9, 2011 4:01 PM
    zaggs says:
    And the players didn’t ask for more time why? Oh yeah, busy with that desertification.

    How do you know they didn’t ask for another extension?

    You don’t- you’re just making things up.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Several league reps have said that there could have been an extension if the players wanted one. Nobody knows what was really said behind the closed doors, that assertion has not been refuted by any union/trade assoc. reps.

  25. steelersmichele says: May 9, 2011 4:37 PM

    Dunlevy was disappointed with Goodell’s “potboiler” answers?

    Heck, I’m a bit disappointed with Dunlevy’s “potboiler” questions? Seriously, all he did was regurgitate questions Goodell has been asked before–and Goodell gave the same PR response.

    I may not agree with all of the posters on PFT, but I think some of the questions people ask here would definately be better than Dunlevy’s.

  26. tommyf15 says: May 9, 2011 5:20 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    Several league reps have said that there could have been an extension if the players wanted one.

    Link?

  27. dewalt2990 says: May 9, 2011 5:37 PM

    Goodell is just a puppet, it doesn’t matter what he says.

  28. duffer58 says: May 9, 2011 6:05 PM

    Nfl 25,
    It is the owners who are ruining the game. They have it so good and now they want more. The players want to play they are being locked out.
    Put the blame where it belongs on owners!

  29. pmzamboni says: May 9, 2011 6:46 PM

    In a league that gives Michael Vick the Comeback Player award, do you really think anyone will hold this against the players or owners when play resumes? Sure, some season ticket holders will hold a cute funeral for the game, and cancel their tickets, but the next fan in line will buy those tickets (except perhaps in Jacksonville), and life will go on.

    The only thing memorable about this whole process is that Goodell managed to make Bud Selig look competent.

  30. terrellblowens says: May 9, 2011 6:54 PM

    F*** em all: The NFL, the union, Goodell, De Smith. Cut the BS and just give us some football you jerks

  31. Deb says: May 9, 2011 9:38 PM

    Pat answers posted without debate. I’d be a lot more impressed if he’d kept his appointment with you, subjecting himself to a live grilling for the benefit of millions of upset fans.

  32. phillyforlife says: May 9, 2011 10:21 PM

    nfl25 says:

    I don’t think its all the players. But they have nothing to lose as far as rules and all that. They want to get paid. Lets say you worked in a company that you knew for 100% fact you wouldn’t be there for more than 8 years. Would you want whats best for the long term growth of the company? Or would you try to get as much as possible in those 8 years?
    ______________________________________

    Yes that is correct in a way. But if you think about it no one forces them into a career that is short. And if you know its going to be short why wouldn’t you set your self up and invest instead of wasting your money by making it rain in strip clubs or buying 7 Bentley’s one for each day of the week. Fact is they are just dumb morons listening to an idiot trying to make a name for himself.

  33. robertallen1958 says: May 9, 2011 11:13 PM

    folks if i remember right the cba negotiations have been going on for 3 years, this just didnt start in march, the whole time the OWNERS were preparing for this lockout, its what they wanted the whole time, they hated the last deal and the want back what they gave and MORE, (refer to panthers owner remarks) 3 years they paid lip service to the players basically treating the players like children. they tried to get t.v. contracts to pay them if they dont play games! so the owners got what they wanted and now i dont think they want games this year, thats what they prepared for and its what they want, the players were content to play under current cba knowing they prolly have to give up something, the player reps were treated like inferior people in march and they have had enough! i side with the players i side with unions i side with working people, i understant profits aswell, the owners want more more more, they think they are the game, its a players game

  34. jbravo2312 says: May 10, 2011 12:09 AM

    Bottom line kiddies.. None of us have any actual knowledge of who-said-what, or anything relevant enough to form a accurate opinion,everything we hear or read is designed to make us think or believe a certain side, were at there mercy, pray for football my friends…pray

  35. freedomispopular says: May 12, 2011 8:50 PM

    The real pressing question is what is this guy gonna call his blog after Manning retires? Harrison’s been out of the game a little while now, so there’s no 88, and Manning won’t be around much longer than a few more years, so there’ll be no 18.

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